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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wall Street Underpants Gnomes 

Turns out that Wall Street was actually populated by Underpants Gnomes in nice suits. Here's the Underpants Gnomes business plan:
1. Collect underpants
2. ?
3. Profit
Maybe step two will turn out to be the $700 billion American government bailout.
No wonder Atrios has been calling all this the big shitpile. Here's an example of the kind of crap that was happening, from Good Math, Bad Math : Economic Disasters and Stupid Evil People:
It gets quite a bit stupider when you look at the details of some of these deals....[such as] one loan package issued by UBS. They had one bundle of about 20 billion dollars of loans that they resold as bonds. They bought 'insurance' on it from a much smaller investment firm, whose total assets (that is, every bit of money that they had any plausible claim to be able to raise) was 200 million dollars. Think about what that means: the guys insuring those 20 billion dollars of loans had absolutely no way of covering them: the insurer couldn't possibly ever pay off the loans they were insuring if they failed. But on the paper that got the loans their high-quality rating, it said that they were fully insured. So there's no way in hell that if those loans failed, the insurers would be able to pay up, and the folks selling the insurance knew it, and the folks buying the insurance knew it. But they just assumed that somehow, this would all work out.
And thanks to the Republican bail out plan, it may.

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